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TV executives are optimistic and excited about the prospects of Thor, a new TV attribution measurement plan.

Thor Hammers Out a TV Attribution Measurement Solution

February 23rd, 2018   ||    by Charlene Weisler

Ad sales executives from every major cable and broadcast TV networks are thundering about “Thor,” a new TV attribution measurement plan designed to quantify the impact of television commercials on consumer purchases.

Television networks have always sought proof of ad impact. Now, advanced datasets from data analytics company Data Plus Math help these networks observe the causal relationships between messaging and consumer behavior.

Thor will focus on multi-touch attribution (MTA) and its outcomes by tracing the link between a commercial and an actual sale. Here’s how it’ll change the face of attribution.

The TV Industry Is Optimistic

Many TV executives are optimistic and excited about the prospects of Thor’s TV attribution methods, according to Variety.

“This initiative has the potential to shine a light on the power of TV to achieve results for brands,” said Mel Berning, president and chief revenue officer at A&E Networks.

When the value of TV’s impact on actual sales results becomes measurable, Sean Cunningham, president and CEO at the Video Advertising Bureau, believes “advertisers [will] want to double-down on the TV ad platform.”

The biggest challenge? Campaign key performance indicators (KPIs) vary by advertiser and category. But one network is already embarking on a custom case study with Data Plus Math for a major brand—the results of which will not be available until the completion of the stewardship several months from now.

Any opportunity to demonstrate how TV stands out in the attribution funnel is welcome—and it appears that 2018 will be a very active time to test out the system.

Meeting the Challenges of Attribution

The perfect attribution model remains the holy grail of advertisers and networks. MTA maps the trigger points along the consumer purchasing journey. It’s considered the most accurate of the attribution models—even over last touch attribution, which fully credits the last media point before purchase.

“TV is massively under-credited as a driver of consumer activity,” said John Hoctor, CEO at Data Plus Math, to MediaPost. “The data shows that TV advertising is doing a lot of the heavy-lifting for marketers and that last-touch digital advertisements are all too often getting too much credit.”

While MTA is the most accurate, there are still many unknowns and unmeasurable aspects of the consumer path to purchase—including word of mouth, which the MTA process could never measure.

As more data becomes available, the potential for a good attribution model is possible. Berning hopes this process offers best practices and transparency “so the approach can be fully vetted by the industry.”

Using Inscape’s ACR

Data Plus Math is working with Inscape, the data information unit of Vizio, to develop an MTA attribution model for Thor. Inscape uses automatic content recognition to identify content across device and viewing platforms from Vizio’s 7.7 million U.S. television sets to facilitate viewing attribution.

“Their platform promises to provide important metrics to underscore how television can drive effectiveness and motivate people to action,” said Berning.

Thor No More?

Data Plus Math’s god-like system may need to change its name. “We are not calling it ‘Thor’ now,” said one industry executive. According to Broadcasting & Cable, “Thor” is the property of Disney’s Marvel unit, and Data Plus Math was encouraged not to use that particular name. (And you don’t want to make Thor angry.)

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